Reactions and Aftermath of Aurora Shooting
As the killer’s smoke bomb weaved into the Aurora movie theater during the midnight screening of Dark Knight Rises, victims and witnesses shifted from glee, confusion, and later to horror as they realized that their reality had somehow mirrored fantasy. With the number of young casualties and the commonplace setting of the incident, the tragedy has certainly hit close to home.
“My daughters go to the movies,” Obama said in a statement, echoing the thoughts and feelings of most parents. “What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I’m sure you will do the same with your children. But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.”
But, with yet another senseless and violent attack centered around young people who are both perpetrators and victims, people are questioning the cause of this seemingly repetitive downward spiral.
Similar to the aftermath of other shootings, the topic of gun violence comes to light, something that politicians have often skirted around, as a second amendment right that they cannot change.
“How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free?” explained a writer from the New Yorker who also describes himself as a concerned parent. “You can only shake your head and maybe cry a little. “Gun Crazy” is the title of one the best films about the American romance with violence.”
As people push their own agendas, we fail to realize that beyond the divided lobbyists and protestors , there IS a middle ground. Neither party is for violence, which is unfortunately still something that the status quo allows for. A ban may not be the answer, but there needs to be more accountability and regulations with the way guns are manufactured and sold. A tragedy does not need to occur before dialogue and change starts.
At the same time, another topic that comes to debate is the correlation between gratuitous violence in the media and how that translates into reality. Ironically, Dark Knight Rises, the central movie in today’s tragedy focuses on a villain who creates havoc with mindless killing and violence in the fictional Gotham city. The movie is indeed violent, but is rated PG-13. And even beyond that, as evident in the number of young casualties, toddlers and kids are also taken to watch this movie.
Some people argue that it is not fictional media, but rather the treatment of reality which should be blamed for such outbursts. “I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence,” Roger Ebert writes in the New York Times. “I think the link is between the violence and the publicity. Those like James Holmes, who feel the need to arm themselves, may also feel a deep, inchoate insecurity and a need for validation. Whenever a tragedy like this takes place, it is assigned catchphrases and theme music, and the same fragmentary TV footage of the shooter is cycled again and again. Somewhere in the night, among those watching, will be another angry, aggrieved loner who is uncoiling toward action. The cinematic prototype is Travis Bickle of “Taxi Driver.” I don’t know if James Holmes cared deeply about Batman. I suspect he cared deeply about seeing himself on the news.”
As a society, people cannot create a big fuss over a nipple slip while carelessly allowing for senseless violence. What message does that tell today’s kids? This is not only an issue for the producers (and censorship boards) of media, but also a responsibility for consumers. For kids, fictional violence on screen may not be seen as entirely fictional. And seriously, how many parents actually talk to their kids after watching a movie like Dark Knight Rises?
Bottomline, there is no rationale or excuse for the killer’s actions. It is something that has caused indescribable pain among victims and their families. Instead of trying to make sense of the killer’s background and motives, let us instead, as the producers and consumers of media use the time to mourn the victims and prevent other future victims of violence.
To support the victims of this tragedy, please reach out to the following organizations:
Bonfils Blood Center
The blood bank needs to replenish their supply of O-negative and A-negative blood. You can schedule an appointment by calling 303.363.2300 or visiting the organization’s website here.
Thrive With Confidence Foundation
The organization has organized a donation drive for the victims of the tragedy. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page or send donations to the Rec Center at 15528 east Hampden circle, Aurora, CO 80013.